Running a grocery store can generate a lot of unnecessary plastic waste, but there are ways to make the process more eco-friendly. One of the fastest and easiest changes you can make is to switch to reusable bags. Reusable bags, usually known as tote bags, are great for the environment and can also help your customers save money through reusable-bag discounts. It’s a win-win deal! Read on to learn more about why you should make the switch to reusable shopping bags in your store.
What Are Reusable Grocery Bags?
Reusable grocery bags—often called tote bags—are made out of sustainable materials such as canvas, jute, woven fibers, or nylon. These materials are much more durable than disposable plastic bags, which allows consumers to use the bag multiple times and reduces the grocery store’s carbon footprint. In the long run, reusable bags are much more cost-effective than disposable plastic bags.
Due to their versatile, multipurpose design, these bags can be used almost anywhere! Consumers could carry them around wherever they go; from offices and schools to shopping centers and grocery stores.
Why You Should Switch to a Reusable Grocery Bag.
Plastic bags have a significant environmental footprint. Approximately 8% of the world’s total oil production is used to produce plastic every year. Furthermore, plastic bags use up fossil fuels as they are being transported worldwide. All for a plastic bag to be used for just 12 minutes and then become plastic waste.
So many resources could be saved if you switch to reusable shopping bags. Just imagine the amount of fossil fuels we’d reserve if consumers used the same reusable bags for many years instead of hundreds of single-use plastic bags every year.
Plastic pollution is one of the most dangerous environmental concerns facing the world today. Since plastic can take a minimum of 500 years to biodegrade, millions of tons of plastic waste are filling up landfills and polluting the ocean. It is estimated that 1 million marine birds and 100,000 marine mammals die annually from plastic ingestion.
Reusable bags have a much longer life before they end up in landfills, and compostable bags are less harmful to animals and marine life. Whether recyclable, compostable, or both, reusable bags will always be a more responsible option that protects our planet.
Plastic bags may seem cheap, but the expenses for business owners can add up quickly. Supermarkets and grocery stores use millions of plastic bags every year, which of course, adds a hefty sum to their expenses.
Meanwhile, reusable bags are a one-time purchase that can last for years. Sure, it costs more to purchase a single bag, but that single bag is the only one your customers will need for years to come. In order to encourage customers to switch to reusable bags, many places offer discounts and coupons to shoppers who bring their own tote bags.
Since plastic bags are designed for single use, they are only strong enough to last as long as the trip home from the store. That’s why they easily rip and tear, especially from the handles.
On the other hand, reusable bags are much more convenient. They are sturdier, more durable, more reliable, and are often double or triple the size of a standard plastic bag. This means fewer bags to carry, fewer trips to and from your vehicle, and easier loading and unloading.
Display Your Brand’s Style
Reusable shopping bags come in various designs and materials, making them far more attractive than basic plastic bags. From reusable bags made of cotton and canvas to palm leaves and recycled water bottles, there’s a bag for everyone.
While the materials may vary, all reusable shopping bags are lightweight, washable, and durable—allowing consumers to use them multiple times over several years.
How To Choose the Right Reusable Grocery Bag For Your Needs
Choosing the right reusable grocery bag for your business can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Making an informed decision on choosing a reusable grocery bag is easy when considering the materials, size, and other functional factors.
Natural and synthetic fabrics offer different levels of strength. Synthetic fabrics are lighter and easier to carry, which is why they’re best suited for light shopping or carrying your everyday essentials. Natural fabrics, on the other hand, make sturdier grocery bags that can safely carry your weekly groceries.
For maximum convenience, choose a reusable grocery bag with multiple pockets or compartments to help organize items, as well as secure straps to carry heavy loads. Also, make sure your reusable grocery bag is foldable and easy to clean. Your customers will appreciate it!
10 Best Reusable Grocery Bags by the World’s Best Brands
These are our favorite picks from brands worldwide that offer the best reusable grocery bags.
Brands showcased are the personal preference of the writer and are not affiliated with this blog in any way. Any trademarks/logos belong to the respective owners.
The Large Cabana Tote by Paravel
Paravel created The Cabana Tote Bags from their spill-proof Eco-craft canvas, made from upcycled plastic bottles.
The Knit Tote by Kule
The Knit Tote Bags by Kule are sustainably made of 100% cotton canvas. They’re also big enough to carry all your groceries in one go. This will help reduce the number of your grocery store visits, and in turn, lower your carbon footprint.
Karima XL Blue by New Tangier
New Tangier’s Karima XL Tote bag is made of woven canvas with unique color prints. It also has wide straps to give the consumer more support when carrying heavier objects.
Standard Baggu by Baggu
Baggu has created the Standard Baggu from one continuous piece of sustainably recycled nylon. That way, they’ve managed to create a sustainable product with minimal waste. It’s also very lightweight and easily foldable, which makes it a perfect option for grocery shopping.
Olivia French Basket by Le Papillon Vert
Le Papillon Vert’s Olivia French Basket is hand woven from palm leaves with leather handles to give a strong, long-lasting reusable bag. You could use this tote bag for grocery shopping or take it to the beach to compliment your summer outfit.
Katahdin Boat and Tote by L.L.Bean
L.L.Bean’s Katahdin Boat and Tote bag is made from cotton canvas and genuine leather handles for maximum support. These features make it strong enough to carry your belongings for a weekend trip.
Tote Bag by Filt
Filt’s Tote Bags are made out of a cotton net, giving them a timeless look. Their breathable net structure makes them the perfect grocery shopping bag for carrying fruits and vegetables from the grocery store or your local farmer’s market.
Everything Bag by BIYDIY
BIYDIY’s Everything Bag is a tote bag made from pure sustainable cotton. Its spacious design will help you carry everything you need all at once.
Canvas Tote by The Met.
If you’re going to get a souvenir the next time you visit The Met, this is it. Not only is The Met’s Canvas Tote reusable and better for the environment, but it’s also designed for heavy lifting.
The Flora by Kauniste
The Flora bag made by Kauniste is made of linen-cotton mix and has a long strap so users can comfortably carry it on their shoulders. It comes in different patterns to add a little fun to your daily errands.
What Are the Most Popular Reusable Grocery Bag Materials?
Non-woven fabrics are cheaper since they don’t need knitting or weaving. Because they’re relatively affordable, you could offer them as a gift with every purchase, or you could fill them with branded promotional items and distribute them to promote your brand. Non-woven totes are also foldable, which makes them ideal for grocery shopping. That way, your business will gain visibility and brand awareness at a low cost.
Some benefits of non-woven fabric reusable tote bags are:
- Competitive Pricing.
- 100% Recyclable.
- Sturdy and durable, meaning they’re more reusable.
- No water or PVC is used in the manufacturing process.
Cotton Tote Bags
Cotton is a popular material for reusable shopping bags since it’s soft yet durable. It’s also very easy to wash, so any accidents or spills during a grocery shopping trip won’t ruin your branding.
Some benefits of reusable cotton tote bags are:
- More efficient.
- More convenient.
- Easy to wash.
Jute is a natural plant fiber that can make strong threads, making jute bags durable and sturdy. Jute plants are a natural, renewable resource and contain compostable plant fiber. Therefore, it will decompose without any negative effects on the environment.
Some benefits of jute reusable grocery bags are:
- Fairly cheap to buy.
- Natural renewable resource.
- Biodegradable and compostable.
- Can be blended with other types of fabrics, such as non-woven polypropylene.
Recycled PET Bags
Recycled PET, or rPET, bags feel and look like fabric, but they’re actually made of plastic. This type of plastic is recycled from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles and containers. rPET bags are eco-friendly because they’ve opened a market for post-consumer recycled material. Meaning that when you use recycled PET materials, you’re decreasing waste.
You could order PET bags in custom designs to fit your brand’s style. You’ll find that PET bags are commonly used by many companies for advertisement, promotion, gifting, and shopping.
Some benefits of recycled PET bags are:
- Durable and strong.
- Conserves a non-renewable resource and reduces waste.
- Can be blended with other types of fabrics, such as polyester or hemp.
- Requires two-thirds less of the energy needed to manufacture PET products.
Canvas totes are one of the best reusable grocery bags to carry your brand. They can work for various businesses and brands, from frozen yogurt shops to educational services and more. Everyone is using them, and you should, too!
Some benefits of canvas reusable grocery bags are:
- Easily washable.
- Highly durable.
- Outstanding strength-to-weight ratio.
- Environmentally friendly.
Nylon Reusable Grocery Bags
Nylon is a synthetic polymer that was initially made to replace silk in fabrics. Along with being durable, a nylon reusable bag can also be folded into a small ball for ease of use and storage.
Some benefits of nylon reusable grocery bags are:
- Lightweight material.
- Durable and sturdy.
- Dyed easily, creating ideal material color options.
Is it hygienic to continue using the same bag without washing/cleaning it?
No. Reusable grocery bags, especially those used to carry food, need to be cleaned and sanitized after each use.
Can reusable bags be machine washed?
Yes. In fact, to properly disinfect your reusable grocery bags, machine-wash them with hot water and laundry detergent. In the case of insulated polyester fiber bags and film-coated reusable grocery bags, hand wash with warm water and soap or wipe with disinfectant or antibacterial wipes. Don’t forget to wipe along the seams.
How often should you wash reusable bags?
You should wash them after each use, following the care instructions on the label. For insulated bags, wipe them with a disinfecting or sanitizing cloth, especially along the seams.
What length of handles is best suited for a grocery bag?
The standard straps that are easy to use are around 20”-22” in length with a 9”-1” drop.
How many times do I need to use a reusable grocery bag to be commercially viable compared to paper bags?
- Paper bags: 3 times.
- Low-density polyethylene bags (thicker plastic bags used in supermarkets): 4 times.
- Non-woven polypropylene bags: 11 times.
- Cotton bags: 131 times.